8-15-14: Students honored for community service
8-15-14: Students honored for community service
Posted on 08/15/2014

Puyallup School District students in grades 9 through 12 logged more than 47,000 hours of community service toward earning their 2014 Varsity Letter in Community Service from the United Way of Pierce County.  


The 199 students who received a varsity letter recorded 47,484 of combined community service hours during the 2013-14 school year — the highest total from among the 34 public and private schools that participated in Pierce County.


As in past years, Puyallup had a strong showing at the annual United Way Youth United varsity letter celebration held in late May, representing more than 40 percent of the 481 award recipients.


Varsity letters were awarded to students representing Emerald Ridge, Puyallup, and Rogers high schools, as well as several junior high schools, during a reception at the Washington State Fair Events Center. Two Chief Leschi High School students also earned the award.


The United Way presented certificates and varsity letters to 83 students from Emerald Ridge High, 58 from Puyallup High, and 58 from Rogers High. The numbers include ninth-grade award recipients from the district’s junior high schools.


To qualify for a letter, students in grades 9 through 12 were required to volunteer with at least one school-related project and at least one community-oriented project totaling 145 hours or more of service between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014.


The varsity letter requirements have changed effective with the 2014-15 school year. Details can be found on the United Way website at www.uwpc.org/varsity-letter.  


This is the fourth consecutive year that Rogers High 2014 graduate Allison Wusterbarth received the award. She was one of 29 students overall who were asked to stand during the reception and be recognized for receiving the letter in four consecutive years.


The teen, who was recognized as this year’s Youth Volunteer of the Year, contributed 150 hours of community service last year and 500 hours of volunteer work over the past four years.


The United Way also honored Wusterbarth as one of 15 students countywide and eight from this district to receive a Willie Stewart Community Service Scholarship and selected her as the featured student speaker at the annual awards ceremony.


Wusterbarth served as vice president of the Puyallup chapter of the United Way Youth Leadership Council. She and other scholarship recipients were honored with a dinner prior to the varsity letter ceremony held at the Washington State Fair Events Center.


A press release issued by United Way of Pierce County described Wusterbarth’s contributions as follows: “Allison’s natural ability to lead shines through in many ways, whether that be through setting the agenda for meetings and creating fun ice breakers, to recruiting more Youth Council members by contacting teachers at Kalles Junior High and visiting classrooms in order to promote the program.”


The press release continued, “Allison is a determined and focused individual who has made helping others a top priority in her life.”


During her speech, the teen encouraged her peers to continue to volunteer beyond high school. She said the varsity letter is “not an end point,” but rather the beginning of a lifetime of service.


Other local 2014 Willie Stewart Community Service Scholarship recipients include Jordan Barnes, Melanie Douglas, and Megan Horton from Emerald Ridge High; Breanna Dela Rosa from Puyallup High; and Hannah Russ and Charles Woolley from Rogers High.